ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey warned Iran “in a frank and friendly manner” against blaming Ankara for violence in Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday, a day after holding talks with his Iranian counterpart.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi flew to neighboring Turkey on Tuesday seeking to mend a relationship sorely strained by the Syrian uprising and to secure Turkish help for 48 Iranians kidnapped in Syria on Saturday.
Turkey was incensed by comments this week by Iran’s top general Hassan Firouzabadi, in which he blamed Turkey for the bloodshed in Syria and accused Ankara, alongside Saudi Arabia and Qatar, of helping the “war-raging goals of America.”
“Such statements have the potential to harm Iran as well,” Davutoglu told reporters at Ankara airport before departing on a visit to Myanmar.
Although the comments were not made by Iran’s leaders, they were made by individuals holding official posts, he said.
“We would expect these officials, both in Turkey and Iran, to think a few times before making any comments. Our position on the issue was explained to Mr Salehi in a frank and friendly manner,” Davutoglu added.
Blaming Turkey or others would be of no benefit for any country, he said.
The once close ties between the Middle East’s two non-Arab powers have been ravaged by events in Syria. Turkey has demanded President Bashar al-Assad quit, but Iran supports his suppression of an uprising Tehran says is backed by regional and Western enemies.
Davutoglu told Salehi Turkey would try to help free the 48 Iranians seized by rebels on the road from Damascus airport on Saturday [ID:nL6E8J438A].
Writing by Ece Toksabay and Alexandra Hudson, editing by Tim Pearce